Best of the Caribbean: Perfect Resorts

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Everyone is certain they've found that perfect island resort in the Caribbean. It's no surprise that being at the best resort is so important since the heart of any trip is your home base, whether that's your own private suite, a villa or even an entire island. As part of the "Perfect Caribbean" guide that appears in the November 2009 issue of ISLANDS magazine, readers and editors point to these Caribbean resorts as their favorites. Click on one below to find out about resort packages, the latest travel deals and how to book your Caribbean vacation!

BVI: Mango Bay Resort In the British Virgin Islands, many resorts celebrate the natural beauty. "We stayed for a week at Mango Bay Resort on Virgin Gorda," says Karen Winslow of South Carolina. "The place was so beautiful and the snorkeling was great, just 20 steps from our beachside villa. It was so worth the money."

Jamaica: Sandals Negril and Royal Plantation For a can't-miss resort, beat the path with many fellow island travelers to Jamaica. There's a lot of love for the ease of all-inclusive resorts. "I love Sandals Negril -- the beach, the food, the people," says Dale Louderback of Virginia, who was married there. Other readers rave about the Royal Plantation in Ocho Rios for its mango mimosas on the beach, total-comfort beds and a pillow menu -- five choices for sweet dreams.

Nevis: Four Seasons Resort Joseph Shafer of Kentucky experienced a perfect Caribbean trip at the Four Seasons Resort, Nevis, scheduled to reopen in 2010 after its remodeling work. "The serenity and calmness of the resort captured our imagination," he says. "We stepped off our shuttle boat and were warmly greeted and ushered to our quiet villa. My wife and I were pampered from the moment we arrived."

St. Maarten: Holland House Beach Hotel Wherever you book, whether at a mega-resort or private estate home, exceptional service makes all the difference for your stay. "We stayed at the renovated Holland House Beach Hotel right on St. Maarten's new boardwalk and had the time of our lives," says reader Sharon Straw of Maryland. "But what we loved most was 'Iceman,' the best beach attendant. He set up our umbrella and chairs, brought us drinks, towels, whatever we needed. We tipped him well."

More Favorite Island Resorts Outside Jamaica's all-inclusive resorts, Grenada's LaSource, St. Lucia's Almond Morgan Bay and Aruba's Tamarijn earn affection. The Caribbean escape proves to be what you make it. Those seeking the ultimate luxury trip might find it alongside celebrities at the relaxing private-island Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos, on the tucked-away beaches of Caneel Bay on St. John and atop the bluff of gorgeous Cap Maison on St. Lucia. For a stay that's not so well known, go boutique. The resorts with just handfuls of rooms and villas are sprinkled in the quiet pockets of the Caribbean, like the 25 cottage suites of Hermitage Bay on Antigua or the 11 bungalows of Natura Cabana in the Dominican Republic. With the Caribbean and Atlantic often right outside your door, you can always escape to a resort -- then escape even farther. "We love Pelican Bay at Lucaya hotel and Bimini Bay Resort & Marina in the Bahamas," says Sherri Gorbey of North Carolina, "but we generally spend our time out on a boat in the middle of the ocean."

Contest: Win a Caribbean Trip! Don't see your favorite Caribbean spot listed here? Let us know what we missed -- and you could win a free resort stay. Enter our new "Caribbean Favorites" contest.